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Rx Drugs

6/18/12 11:14am

Kids Ever More Medicated for ADHD

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Prescriptions for ADHD meds hit a high.
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The number of prescriptions for ADHD drugs for children skyrocketed between 2002 and 2010, reveals a new study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—but the total number of prescriptions for kids up to age 17 declined during the same period. The relevant stats show a 7% drop in total prescriptions and a big increase of 46% in ADHD presscriptions—with the total number of ADHD diagnoses rising from 4.4 million to five million. Ritalin and Adderall account for the majority of the ADHD drugs prescribed, but newer meds like Vyvanse and Focalin are also being introduced. Contraceptive prescriptions also increased among adolescents by a massive 93% and there was a marked increase in medications prescribed for asthma. However, antibiotic prescriptions for kids declined by 14% and the numbers for antidepressants also fell. The trend for adults seems different; they experienced a 22% total increase in the amount of medications prescribed. However, the study doesn't provide an analysis for these results and the authors note that their research doesn't track whether the drugs are actually used—only that they're prescribed.

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By McCarton Ackerman

drug-related death

6/18/12 10:59am

Rodney King Dies at 47

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King never got along with drugs and alcohol.
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Rodney King—whose brutal treatment by police sparked the 1991 LA riots—was found dead at the bottom of his pool on Sunday, after a lifelong battle with drug and alcohol addiction. King, who featured on shows like Sober House and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, was briefly arrested under suspicion of DUI last summer. He had been drinking and smoking marijuana all day prior to his death, according to his fiancée Cynthia Kelly; she says after going to bed around 2 am, she woke up to hear King screaming in the backyard, then heard a splash and immediately called the police. The 47-year-old's body was discovered at bottom of the pool of his California home and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 6:11 am Sunday. Police don't suspect foul play, but a full investigation and autopsy report will be carried out. King had been back in the news this spring after releasing a book called The Riot Within: My Journey From Redemption To Rebellion, and was also working as a commentator on the Trayvon Martin case. The icon, who once uttered the now-famous phrase, "Can we all get along?" had reflected in a recent interview on the 20 years since his filmed beating by police, saying: "I still suffer from headaches to this day and walk with a limp, but after the beating with me, a lot of things changed. People looked at civil rights and my situation and said it was time for a change. Now we have a black president."

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

6/18/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 18, 2012

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Is the brass doing enough to address
alcohol abuse in the military? Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

Social Networking

6/15/12 4:26pm

Facebook Pushes "People, Places and Things"

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Facebook members in recovery might "unlike" the
search wording change. Photo via

Although it doesn’t appear anywhere in official AA or NA literature, one admonishment you’ll often hear at 12-Step meetings is to avoid “people, places and things” that might trigger a desire to drink or use. Just yesterday, Facebook inadvertantly got itself mixed up in the recovery conversation when it changed its search bar to read, “Search for people, places and things.” (Take a look for yourself.) Facebook said this was just a wording change, and didn’t represent any update to its search functionality—to say nothing of some coded reference to a newly and zealously sober Mark Zuckerberg. Nevertheless, the new phrasing raised some eyebrows. Says Beau from Brooklyn, “It's a great phrase—maybe a little ironic seeing it there after sitting through so many AA meetings featuring tales of woe and other spinouts that presumably began with a search for a person, place or thing on Facebook.”

But in fact, the effect that the new wording might actually have could turn out to be positive, a subtle daily incursion of “program-speak” into the wider world, such as a school crossing-guard’s sign—HALT—reminding those in recovery not to get too “hungry, angry, lonely or tired” during their day. And, as some have suggested, the wording change could be a step towards providing search-based ads—so if you do relapse as a result of Facebooking “my old dealer,” “where I used to drink under that bridge abutment in high school” or “cocaine mirror,” Beau theorizes that the social-networking titan might soon be able to serve up ads for “the right rehab.”

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By Hunter R. Slaton

alcohol bans

6/15/12 3:42pm

Sniff-Test "Evidence" Won't Wash in NYC

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The long nose of the law Thinkstock

Just because it smells like alcohol doesn't mean it is alcohol. That's the standard to which Brooklyn judge Noach Dear is holding the NYPD to when it comes to writing summonses for drinking in public; he's told them they have to prove the beverage in question is alcoholic and that a "sniff test" will no longer cut it. Police in NYC wrote 124,498 summonses last year for drinking in public—far more than any other violation—but Dear feels they're issued disproportionately to black and hispanic drinkers. "“As hard as I try, I cannot recall ever arraigning a white defendant for such a violation,” he writes. “I am hereby recommending that the practices and policies of the NYPD. with respect to enforcement of the open container law be scrutinized and immediately stopped if found to be discriminatory.” Although the $25 fine doesn't bring in that much money for the city, police are often gung-ho about issuing these summonses because it gives them the chance to check people for warrants. However, Dear's alternative for proving that a drink's alcohol content exceeds 0.5%—the threshold under the city’s open-container law—seems hugely expensive: he suggests having the NYPD conduct lab tests on suspect drinks.

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By McCarton Ackerman

withdrawal

6/15/12 3:07pm

Beating Withdrawal With Nigella Seed Oil

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Nigella sativa: A better way to kick?
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Seed oil from the flowering plant Nigella sativa has been used for its health-giving properties since ancient times, and is particularly popular in Islamic cultures. The prophet Muhammad is quoted as saying that Nigella seed oil can “remedy every disease except death." Today it's mainly used as a spice—better known as black cumin. But some opioid addicts take oral doses of the oil to wean themselves off drugs. They say it helps them to withdraw, and even to stay clean afterwards. “I never wanted to be on methadone. I had seen people detoxing from that and it was horrific," Dylan, a recovering heroin addict from Wales, tells The Fix. "I tried many different remedies but Nigella seed oil really works, it helped ease my withdrawal and now I am clean I find it has a calming and restorative effect.”

The University of Karachi in Pakistan has conducted two of the rare studies on these effects: one in 2004 and one in 2008 that found, “Nigella sativa showed a rapid improvement in signs and symptoms of acute opioid withdrawal. It was also observed that Nigella sativa prevented the development of significant craving and relapse." Saudi Arabia's King Saud University also found that Nigella seed oil has anti-inflammatory effects, “decreases blood pressure and increases respiration," and is rich in compounds that are effective in treating liver conditions like hepatitis—which affects many drug addicts. While more research would be welcome, anecdotal evidence is strong. One user of an online heroin forum reports that the oil “works well for sleep during withdrawals.” Another asserts that “taking the oil has vastly reduced all cravings for opiates."

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By Nathan Thompson

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